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Carrie Elle

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

First Solo Outing with Two Kids...Or, I Make it Out Alive!

Until this morning, I had not taken the kids anywhere by myself.

This is how we spend our days.
Most moms are probably thinking, "What a wimp!", "How can she stand being in the house all day?", or "How is that even possible? Doesn't she have to do things like grocery shop?"  These are all valid questions.  Claire is, after all, two months old.  It is boring being in the house all day.  We do need to eat.  And yes, I am kind of a wimp.

But I am lucky (so lucky) in that Charles works from home and we are close to everything we need.  So he either does the grocery shopping while I hold down the fort or we go together once he's wrapped up for the day.  It's a pretty sweet deal.  

I am getting bored, though.  And there are all sorts of fun things to do around here.  Like, for instance, go to Story Time at the library.

How fun does Story Time sound?  Kids around the same age as Jack, fun new stories we haven't heard, climate-control...all the things we like, and only a short drive away.

So I decide this would be a great first outing.

Before I get into this, I should say that Jack is a good boy on most occasions who weaves in and out of the Terrible Twos on a day-to-day type deal.  As in, yesterday, he was just such a joy to be with and so well-behaved and in such a great mood you would have thought Charles and I were the World's Greatest Parents, because how else could a little boy be so perfect?  But today was spent in the throes of the Terrible Twos and if you had been at the library, or Target, you would have surely wondered how any mom could do such a horrible job raising her child.  

Picture this scene, if you will: a nice lady at the library giving us a cute little duck "ticket" to get into Toddler Story Time, a little auditorium full of babies and kids 1-2 years old, two energetic teachers at the front of the room racing through pirate stories and puppet routines in an attempt to keep their young audience's attention...and then we enter. 

I was holding the baby in her car seat because I somehow thought it would be a good idea to carry her in the seat she was sleeping in because, well, she was asleep, and the stroller seemed like overkill (had I known how far I would have to walk or that the diaper bag would get heavy or that I'd be dragging a reluctant two-year old with my other hand, I'd have brought the stroller).  

As soon as the door opens, Jack decides this is not his cup of tea and lets everyone (EVERYONE) know in no uncertain terms that he does not want to be there.  "I want to go!" he yells.  It is pretty loud in there, what with all the toddlers and all, and Jack does not like loud noises...although he has no qualms with making loud noises himself, as was evidenced at this time.  "I WANT TO GO HOME!" he yells, louder this time.  At this point, the door is still open because Jack won't walk into the room all the way.  I am holding the baby in one hand and holding the door open/pushing Jack in with the other.  Only, he's not going.

He keeps yelling that he wants to leave.  People are staring to look at us.  Kids are starting to turn around and watch.  At which point Jack takes it up a level and starts yelling, "Don't LOOK AT ME!" to every child who dares turn his head our direction, and the more he yells the more kids are turning around and looking, and they more they are looking, the more he is get the idea.  

We are still in the doorway.

I manage to coax (shove) him in and put Claire's car seat on the ground.  I sit down and pull Jack, still yelling at kids not to look at him, onto my lap.  "Why are the kids looking at me?!" he is screaming.  Whooo, boy.  Jack wants to leave and I am starting to feel like a jerk for making him stay as he is truly unhappy being there. wasn't easy getting there and I decided I was going to stay for Story Time, like it or not.

So he sits on my lap, complaining (loudly) as the teachers go through their routines.  There are lots of kids and moms in the room and they all seem to know the drill, and clap after each routine.  Every time they clap, Jack asks if it's over and begs to leave.  At this point Claire wakes up so I pull her out of her seat and onto my lap as well (Lord knows the last thing I need is *two* screaming kids).  

As the end of Story Time nears, Jack is quieting down but still miserable so I decide to pack up and go on a "good" note (in this case, no screaming/yelling at innocent babies to look away from him) after a whopping 15 minute of Story Time.

But I am not going to return home defeated, oh no!  I decide to go to Target to let Jack pick out a new movie for movie night (a new Friday night activity at our house).  

And then the fun really begins.

So, when we normally go to Target we park by the side with the Starbucks (how lucky am I, right???  Starbucks inside Target!) and get a beverage to enjoy during our shopping trip. And more times than not, we buy Jack a cake pop to munch on (this keeps him relatively subdued for the first ten minutes, at least).  Knowing this, and also not needing anything on that side of the store, I decide not to park there so I don't have to take Jack past the cake pops.  

I load Claire up in the Ergo this time and hold Jack's hand and into Target we go.  I wanted to buy him Nemo, but apparently it's in the Disney vault so I was browsing through through the blu-ray choices while Claire slept and Jack looked at a Mickey Mouse book.  I quickly come to a decision (A Bug's Life) and tell Jack it's time to go.  

At first, I think we are going to get out of there without any problems.

Then Jack sees a Transformer toy (one for $30, nonetheless) and decides he wants it.  No, make that he  decides he "needs" it (I would like to take a quick moment here to congratulate the marketing department of Target for putting $30 Transformer toys at toddler eye-level in the movie section...nice move).

Not only does Jack "need" this Transformer toy (and for the record, he doesn't even know what a Transformer is), but he decides to throw a complete FIT to prove how much he needs it.  He sits on the floor, he pulls the toy (repeatedly) from the shelf, he does his window-breaking-opera-singer scream and screams "I NEED IT!!!!!" all the while refusing to stand up.  I am trying to put the toy back and pull him up with the sleeping baby attached to me and quite frankly, it is not going well.  

I finally get the toy back on the shelf and grab his hand and make a beeline for the checkout stand.  I am practically dragging my screaming and crying child through the store while he lets everyone know he needs that toy.  When I get to the one open line on our side of the store...there are four people in it.  Claire is starting to wake up.  I see a lane open a little farther down and head that way (screaming toddler in tow).  A lady is unloading a very full cart.  

There is one more hope...the Express Lane.  By Starbucks.  I decide to go for it (a little cake pop drama can't be worse that this carrying on, I figure).  As *soon* as we near the Express Line Jack sees the Starbucks and his needs change.

"I want a cake pop!" he cries.  The Transformer has been forgotten.  Claire is stirring.  I try to ignore Jack's request because I know that what my negative response is going to invoke (and this kid is SO not getting a cake pop after what he's put me through).  "I want a cake pop! I want a cake pop! I want a cake pop!"  I remain strong and ignore, ignore, ignore.  He changes tactics.  "Please can I have a cake pop, Mama?"


"No, you cannot have a cake pop today" I say.

Well you can imagine how that went down.

The next thing I know I have a wailing, crying, tantrum-ing toddler trying to throw himself to the ground and yelling "I WANT A CAKE POP!" at the top of his lungs while I use my free hand to pull the debit card out of the Ergo and try my hardest to avoid the stares of the people in line behind me (the cashier was kind enough to pretend she didn't notice, or maybe she's just used to it...I know I am not the first one to have a screaming kid in Target).  "I don't want anyone to get my cake pop!!  I want a cake pop!! PLEEEEEASE can I have a CAKE POP!?!?"

At this point I am going to lose it.  But right before I throw myself to the floor and join in on this tantrum, I feel something...funny.  Laughter.  

That's right...some part of me, the part that "will look back on this and laugh" surfaces and all of a sudden I am finding humor in this moment.  And with humor as my armor, I am able to pull (drag) my very, very, VERY loud child out of the store and load him up into the car (with tears streaming down his face and yelling "I WANT A CAKE POP!" the whole way, I might add). And as soon as we get into the car the tears subside and my reasonable two-year-old returns ("I don't want other people to get my cake pop, Mommy") and we head home.  
The moral of this story is A) I am brave (ha!), B) I survived, and C) don't check out by Starbucks (unless you are going to buy the damn cake pop).

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The 21st of September

I got this idea from Jill at Baby Rabies.  She recorded a "normal" day in the life by taking a picture every hour.

I thought this was a fabulous (FABULOUS) idea and wanted to do the same thing, right away...but I kept forgetting.  And forgetting.  And forgetting.  And then I wanted to use the fancy camera and take awesome and creative photos of my "normal" day but the big camera is so...big...and so I put it off again.  Then last night I decided that TODAY WOULD BE THE DAY (mostly because Claire is two months old today so we were going to do her two-month old photo shoot and I knew I'd remember if we were taking pictures already)!! And...I set alarms on my phone to remind me and I STILL forgot to take a picture first thing when we woke up.

When my phone alarm dinged at 9 AM I was so mad at myself for missing the "wakeup shot" I had intended (you have no idea how cute Claire is when she wakes up!) I almost put it off again.  But then I decided not to.  My reality is, after all, forgetting to do what I am supposed to be doing and being a little bit behind in general.  So how appropriate that my pictures would be missing the first picture of the day!

Also, I decided to be really honest and take the pictures doing what I was actually doing on each hour...rather than maybe waiting a few minutes for a "better" chore or taking one early because Jack was being cute, etc.

I loved this so much, I am going to try to do this each month.  What a great way to look back and remember these days and see how much things change.

Enough of my rambling.  Here it goes!

9:00 AM

This is embarassing.  The house is a mess. Jack is just in a diaper.  I am in my pajamas.  The baby is in her swing (look at her go!).

10:00 AM

Look!  I picked up!  I am still in my pjs, but Jack is dressed.  I just finished nursing the baby and I am burping her.  Jack is "playing music" with his toy hammer and Janga's crate.  He is not allowed to touch Janga's crate.  I am happy he's not making a mess with his toys so I pretend I don't notice.

11:00 AM

We finally get out of the house and go for a walk.  That green blob you see is the baby's head.  Well, it's the baby carrier covering her head (love you, Ergo!) while she sleeps.  Jack walked this far but jumped into the stroller right after I took this.

12:00 PM

I am nursing the baby.  Mostly, I was nursing as an apology for an unsuccessful and ill-received attempt at removing boogers from her cute little nose with the nasal aspirator.  

1:00 PM

Lunch and laundry while the baby naps in her swing.  Yes, that laundry is on the dining room table.  I usually fold it while Claire sleeps in the Ergo.  Today she gave me a few minutes to fold laundry all by myself, but I woke her up when I started crunching on the carrots (no joke).  Again, I love my Ergo.  Not sure that I would get anything done without it.

2:00 PM

Jack is asleep, so while Claire is nursing I catch up on some quality TV (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills).  As you can see, the toys have started to make a comeback.

3:00 PM

Jack is still asleep.  I put the baby's favorite toys out and lay her on the bed to look at them.  This buys me about five minutes...long enough to pick up all the mess from this morning's baby Glamour Shots photo shoot that we left all over the floor!

4:00 PM

As Jack finishes his snack, I change Claire's diaper.  Which I take great care in picking out (it needs to match her outfit since we are going to the mall soon) and which she promptly poops in.  But no worry. I have more than one orange diaper, so I put on another.  Which she also promptly poops in.  Sigh. 

5:00 PM

Off to the mall we go!! I ride in back with the kids.  Charles and I talk about how AWESOME it is that we have all the stores we like and need just down the road from us.  YAY!!

6:00 PM

While I scour Bath and Body Works for Halloween candles, Charles and Jack find this amazing park...with a TRAIN.  Jack is excited to show me the train and his "boyfriend" that he met (hehe!).  It's cooled waaaaay down but it's still hot and I know Jack was actually thirsty because he didn't even complain that I gave him water instead of juice.  

7:00 PM

We go to Houlihan's for dinner.  Charles and Jack are inside the restaurant but guess what I'm doing?  I'm nursing the baby, who I nursed right before we went into the restaurant but who decided she was hungry again after pooping at the dinner table.  This reminds me...I seriously need to get a nursing cover.

8:00 PM

I was actually nursing the baby at 8:00 (do you see a pattern here?) but Charles and Jack were outside playing with the neighbors and Charles had the camera.  So he took this right when he came in, when I was getting Claire ready for her bath.  I might wear a little makeup when I do this next month.  Ha!

9:00 PM

I just finished nursing the baby and am rocking her to sleep.  There is no way I am taking any pictures that require a flash, so I take this one with my phone instead.  It's a night light next to my rocker.  As I am rocking her to sleep, I am so grateful that I can do this and that she still needs me.  We saw some parents surprise their 16 year-old daughter with a brand new car tonight after dinner and they saw me standing with Claire watching and said, "Start saving, this will be you in no time!"  Well, I am pretty sure I won't be buying Claire a brand new car for her 16th birthday but I am sure that this time is flying by and that it won't be long before I was wishing I could rock her to sleep.  I mean geez, at least when I am up at night with her now I know where she's at and what she's doing!  I don't want to think about how I'll feel when she's 16 and out on the town.  OK, enough digressing.

10:00 PM

I start putting this together.  In the dark, because I am in my room and Claire is asleep in her bed and I'm still too nervous to leave her alone.  Also, I am still in shock that I have a child that sleeps by herself, if only for a short time each night before she wakes up and comes to bed with me, and I am convinced she is going to wake up any second.

So there you have it.  A day in the life.  

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

House Happy

Claire is seven weeks old (how did that happen so fast....!!!).  

This means we've been in our new home and in our new town for six weeks.

We are mostly moved in to our new house.  There are still boxes that have to be unpacked, but they are tucked away in closets and their contents are mostly items that will go in said closets.  There aren't any pictures or art on the walls yet but the ideas are forming in our brains and we have a batch of things we are going to get framed next month.  We are sitting on folding chairs in the backyard but hope to get some nice outdoor furniture when the sales start.  

Our new house?  Awesome.  

Yes - if you told us our new dark wood floors would be a pain in the ass to keep clean, you were right.  But guess what - they are a hell of a lot easier to keep clean than our stone floors in the old house!  And yes, our neighbors can see into our bedrooms if our windows are open at the same time, but that's an easy fix.  

I do miss some of the things I knew I'd miss -  the "compost pile" in the back pasture and the dog poop-removal non-issue...but the trade off is immense (this morning, for example, we jumped in the car and drove less than ten minutes to a restaurant that serves Eggs Benedict - my favorite breakfast ever).  Charles can make a Starbucks run, we can bribe Jack to poop in the potty with a trip to the toy store down the road (it worked!) and we can load up and drive two minutes to one of the seven parks in our neighborhood.  

I feel so lucky to be here and so happy with our house.  I wonder when/if the newness will wear off.  I am guessing it will take awhile.  In our last house, Charles removed the toilet in our bathroom when we were tearing up the floors and he didn't replace it for, like, six months.  Well, when he finally did replace it I was so grateful to have a toilet in our bathroom I think I said a little prayer of gratitude every time I used it for the next two years.  Seriously.  So if I was that happy about a toilet (and I was pregnant and peeing a lot when we were sans toilet, so I reallllly did miss it after a few months of walking down the hallway every time I had to pee), I imagine I will be grateful for this home and happy to be here for a long time.  I hope so anyway,  I don't want to sell a house/move again for a long, long time.  

I should also note that no matter what, the grass is always greener...yesterday I made Charles drive down the road behind our community because I spotted some jumps in an arena down one of the roads and I wanted to check it out.  Sure enough, there are lots of pretty, well-maintained, smallish (2-3 acre) horse properties.  I said to Charles, "If we have horse property again, this is what we need!"  He could see that I was serious and said "I'm going to pretend you didn't even say that." I guess the conversation he had with his cousin yesterday about hay prices being the highest they have ever been due to the drought was still in his mind.  Or maybe he was thinking about taking fresh water out to three horses and two donkeys in 18 degree weather because their water was frozen.  Or maybe he was thinking about the unexpected vet bills.  Or the manure. 

I stand here again (yes, STAND, baby in Ergo!) and write this because I don't want to forget how happy I am with this house.  When I start bitching about this thing I would change with the house or that thing I would change about our area, I want to be able to read this and remember how hard it was to get here and how happy we were once we got here.  I want the "new car smell": to stick with us for a long time to come.

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Blogging on My Feet

Here I am, logging on to my blog for the first time in a couple of weeks, to get in a quick update while Claire sleeps...on me.  I have her all snuggled up in the Ergo (best. baby carrier. ever.) and here I stand (yes, stand) typing away as quickly as I can because I know she will wake up soon..and guess what??

I don't even know what to write about.

Last night I lay in bed next to the baby and thought, "I should get up and blog about.....(insert fabulous topic here that I've been stewing over for days but now can't even remember because that's what happens when you have lose brain cells and just FORGET about your short term memory, okay??).  And the reason I didn't get up is because - I was TIRED.  And I thought, "If the baby is going to sleep I had might as well sleep too while I can..." and I was out like a light.

The good thing (I guess?) about being so tired at night?  

I can drink tea late in the afternoon and STILL FALL ASLEEP.

This is huge and a real measure of how tired I actually am.

The thing is, I don't actually feel that tired.  I have it pretty good.  Claire is awesome and easy as far as babies go, Charles works from home so can help in the afternoons/evenings and Jack is doing great.  But I am still exhausted at the end of the day.  Just a by-product of having a newborn.  And I am not in a position to complain.  Just yesterday I read an article about a woman in Africa who had five kids and then had quadruplets.  As if that weren't hard enough, she nursed them all and had NO HELP from her husband.  So relatively speaking, I have it damn easy.  

I am short on brain cells these days but hoping that maybe blogging will get those synapses firing again.  So for that reason, I strapped the sleeping baby in the Ergo, made some ranch dressing from a packet of dressing mix for our guests  (who are at the pool with Charles and Jack) and forced myself to write something standing up even though all I really want to do is sit down and finish the last episode of Teen Mom before Claire wakes up.  

We'll see if this works.  I'll let you know if I feel any sharper (because right now I feel like the word "DULL" describes me just perfectly...mentally and physically, anyway) next time.